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World's report card on equality between men and women

New Delhi, Tue, 13 Nov 2007 NI Wire

Newstrack India

Nov 13: The Global Gender Gap Report 2007 published by World Economic Forum has covered almost 128 countries presenting around 90 percent of world population and showed the trend close to elimination of gender gap on the front of health and education. Gap between men and women in economic participation and political empowerment is still wide.

If we look at the regional performance Oceania tops the list followed by Western Europe and North America, Latin America, East Europe. Even Sub-Saharan Africa has done better than Asia. Regions have the same listing in the sub-index of economic participation and opportunity. On the educational attainment sub-index Asia has come on the third from the bottom leaving Sub-Saharan Africa and Middle East and North Africa behind.

Asia has come on the third rank from the top doing well in the political empowerment of women.

But where Asia needs to improve a lot is the area of health and survival. In this field Asia has the worst performance coming last in the list.

Countries who have performed consistently in all the four areas of the G3 index are the Nordic countries with Sweden on the top of the list followed by Norway, Finland, Iceland and Denmark on the 8 th rank in the over all gender gap index. These countries have closed around 80 percent of the gender gap.

From Europe fourteen countries hold the place in the top 20. This time Spain and Ireland have pushed UK to 11 th position from 9 th last year. Their performance has improved due to the increase in the economic participation and political empowerment indicators. Switzerland has dropped to 40 th place this year from 26 th last year. France has improved its position to 51 st from 70 last year.

Greece , Malta, Cyprus and Italy have occupied the lowest places in the European countries. Russia holds 45 th position this year owing to the women labor participation going from 54 % to 67%.

In North America USA has dropped to 31 st position from 23 rd of the last year. This drop has been because of the drop in the female legislators and senior officials falling from 46% to 42% and a fall in wage equality from 0.68 to 0.64.

Among Latin American countries Cuba that entered first time has occupied the 22 nd position pushing Columbia to 24 th with Argentina coming on 33 rd rank in the list.

Brazil was pushed to 74 from 67 not due to fall in the performance but due to new entrants to the list.

Israel tops the list of Middle East while Arab countries have levels far below the global average. Syria, Qatar and Oman are the new entrants to the rankings. Kuwait is the highest ranking country of the region on 96 th position and after it all the countries of the region are lowest in ranking; Yemen being the last in the global index.

In Asia only two countries have been able to make place in top 20. Philippines ranks 6 th and Sri Lanka ranks 15. Despite the strife in the country Sri Lanka has showed improvements in women labor participation and wage equality. In Asia India comes in the bottom 10 ranking being 114 th out of 128 countries.

Even countries such as Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are far ahead of India in rankings being 32 and 41. Even chief rival of India occupies 73 rd position.

From Sub-Saharan countries only South Africa has been able to make place in top 20. Lesotho is the only country which has no gaps on education and health occupying second position in the region.

The report suggests that till yet no country has been able to reach equality between women and men. It demands that gender equality should be incorporated into the national priorities while making national policies.

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